Call a cop! I’ve been ripped off!

Posted on July 15, 2010

Brad Mangin shows off the menu from the OC Sports Grill with his photograph of Barry Bonds featured on the cover, along with the same image in his online archive on the screen of Dan MacMedan’s iPad. (Photo by Dan MacMedan)


Like most freelance photographers I am very serious about retaining my copyright and licensing my images through my agents and through my online archive. I am always poking around the Internet looking for people stealing my pictures. Every once in awhile I will find something on a blog or a really lame website and I will send an email asking the person to take the images down. I have never really been taken advantage of and I am not paranoid about posting my photographs here on my blog or on my website promoting Brad Mangin Sports Photography. All of this makes my discovery at a sports bar in Anaheim, California a few nights ago so nutty, and after many beers, hysterically funny.

Brad Mangin’s photograph of Barry Bonds from 2001 is featured on the front of the OC Sports Grill’s menu.

I was in Southern California photographing the 2010 Major League Baseball All Star Game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Tuesday night. After a long and scorching hot day at the ballpark I gathered with a terrific group of friends in the parking lot after the game and enjoyed pounding some Budweisers that Scott Clarke had so kindly packed in an ice-cold cooler for us. Of course we had no snacks, and John McDonough needed Scotch. So after the 18-pack was quickly consumed we needed food and local shooters Lisa Blumenfeld and Kevin Sullivan knew just the place. The OC Sports Grill was down the street, they served food late, and they had Scotch!

This is the photograph that was stolen. Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Oakland Athletics during a game at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California on June 16, 2001. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

As soon as our large group of eight tired, hungry and slightly buzzed photographers and picture editors were seated I saw the garish blue menu placed in front of me and knew there was something familiar about it. There was a picture of a left-handed hitter on it and it looked like one of my pictures! I immediately showed it to my baseball picture editor from Sports Illustrated Nate Gordon. “Look Nate- this is my picture of Barry Bonds. They stole it!” I said. Nate agreed it looked familiar. Of course, there are thousands and thousands of pictures of Barry Bonds out there shot from the inside third base position at AT&T Park in San Francisco, but this was a very special image that was burned into my brain. I know my pictures. Jim Marshall once said his pictures were his children. I feel the same way.

Nate was very familiar with the picture and liked it so much he had a large print of it hanging on the wall of his office for a while back in 2001. He promised me he would try to get it published as Bonds was on his way to a record-breaking season of hitting 73 home runs.

Brad Mangin’s image of Barry Bonds from 2001 was mocked up for a possible Sports Illustrated cover in September of 2001. It was never published.

I know my friends at the table thought I was nuts, so I needed to prove it to them. Luckily my good friend and USA TODAY contract photographer Dan MacMedan was with us and he had his new iPad. He immediately hooked it up to the wifi in the restaurant and I searched my online archive to find the picture of Barry Bonds that was on the menu. I found it quickly and proudly showed my friends. Now they really thought I was nuts. Of course, the ever-prepared MacMedan also had his Canon G11 with him so he documented the occasion with a picture to prove it (see top).

MacMedan went off to find the night manager and tell him about the picture. I was not mad. I was laughing too much and having so much fun with my friends. What were the odds of me ever seeing this menu? I gave the manager a bad time and told him he at least owed me a beer. He also brought over a gigantic plate of every appetizer they had all piled over a plate of nachos. It was nutty, and it took no time for Bob Binder to dive into the food.

After trying all season to get my photograph of Bonds published, Nate Gordon finally came through for me when it was published in the 2001 year-end issue in a really hideous design. This was not Nate’s fault, and nine years later we can laugh about it. We sure did the other night in the bar.

By the end of the night I could not get over the odds of me ever seeing this menu. I know there are some people who would have gone nuts and demanded a bunch of money or caused a scene, but that is not me. I have no idea where they got the picture, and I really don’t care. This crazy occurrence just added to the fun I had with my friends during all star week. Shooting the game was great fun, but the best part of being at a big event like this is spending time with my friends.

The way I look at it, every time I am in the OC I have a free place to drink beer, and that is not a bad thing.

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